For the past five months, Jonodev Chaudhuri has served as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission and has been handling the $28.5 billion tribal gaming industry issues by himself. That could be changing.
On September 30, the Federal Registrar posted the proposed appointment of E. Sequoyah Simermeyer to serve as an associate member of the NIGC. U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs praised that move.“I want to personally congratulate Sequoyah Simermeyer on this proposed appointment to the NIGC,” Barrasso said.
Simermeyer has been serving as counsel to Barrasso on the SCIA for the past year and has helped draft legislative proposals and committee reports, prepare oversight and legislative hearings, and advise the chairman on several issues pertaining to Indian country according to a SCIA release.
“Simermeyer’s wide experience in community service, legal affairs, and organizational administration make him a highly qualified candidate for membership on the National Indian Gaming Commission,” the Registrar submission states. “His broad perspective as a result of this experience will enrich the Commission’s deliberations and contribute to informed decisions that promote economic well-being.”
The proposed appointment will undergo a 30-day comment period that ends October 30 as reported by indianz.com.
"Mr. Simermeyer is well qualified to be a member of the National Indian Gaming Commission by virtue of his extensive background and experience in a broad spectrum of Native American issues," the notice, which was signed by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, states.
If approved, Simermeyer will fill the second of three seats required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 to serve on the NIGC. The third seat of vice chair has been vacant since January 2013 according to indianz.com. In a March 2013 indianz.com article the NIGC can operate without issue as long as either the chair or vice chair positions are seated. Also required, is that at least two be members of federally recognized tribes and from different political parties.
Prior to joining Barrasso’s staff, Simermeyer served as the deputy chief of staff to the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior. If appointed, Simermeyer will serve a three-year term. The position does not need full Senate confirmation.
Simermeyer “has been a valuable member of our team at the committee and I know he will do well at the NIGC. Sequoyah’s hard work and expertise have made him a strong advocate for issues essential to Indian country. It is vital that the commission be properly staffed, so I am glad to see Sequoyah’s appointment. I hope the remaining commissioner vacancy is filled properly and promptly, as well,” Barrasso said in the SCIA release.
Simermeyer was named to the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s 40 Under 40 list in 2011 while he was serving as counselor to the ASIA.
NIGC is responsible for regulating the more than 450 Indian gaming facilities associated with nearly 242 tribes across 28 states.